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Self-fulfilling prophecy in self-regulated learning: How quality information about an instructional medium impacts on achievement and satisfaction

By Charlotte Haimerl

Abstract

The term self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP) designates a situation where a person’s expectation of a particular event causes the actual occurrence of this event. An expectation, in turn, can be specified as a subjective judgment regarding the likelihood of a future event to happen. SFP effects have been demonstrated to reign over human agency across a variety of different settings: in the laboratory for experimenters and their experimental subjects, in school for teachers and their students, at work for supervisors and their subordinates, in nursing homes for carers and their patients as well as in military camps for sergeants and their recruits. This dissertation follows the footsteps of these investigations, assessing whether a SFP effect also arises for students’ self-regulated learning outcome when provided with quality information about the instructional medium they use. Despite the plethora of research on SFP effects in the educational domain, the present inquiry thereby explores new empirical ground with this issue being so far largely unexplored. New theoretical ground is also entered, because of the need to develop and validate a model to account for this particular type of SFP. More specifically, the existing explanatory models for SFP effects in education would not straightforwardly predict a SFP effect on the basis of quality information about an instructional medium. Drawing additionally on research on self-regulated learning as well as on attitude research, a theoretical model is built to explain the effect of quality information about an instructional medium on students’ learning outcomes. This explanatory model is then put to an empirical test through a series of four experiments. The experimental results validate the effect of quality information about an instructional medium on students’ achievement and satisfaction. Furthermore, the two additional major model assumptions also receive empirical support. First, the relevance of the learning content for the students turns out as a key moderator for the effect of quality information on students’ achievement. Second, students’ quality expectations and cognitive effort demonstrate a significant mediating role in the generation of this effect. The findings generated are of substantial interest for research on expectancy effects in education, where the focus has not been on intrapersonal but on interpersonal settings and explanations. The practical implication of these findings lies at hand with students across all instructional settings spending an enormous amount of time with various media. Manipulating the situational parameter quality information provides a simple tool for practitioners to elevate their students’ achievement and satisfaction when studying on their own. Yet, further research is required for a more comprehensive understanding of the moderating function of content relevance and the different mediating pathways involved. On this basis more detailed instructional guidelines can then be elaborated

Topics: 370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
Publisher: Universität Mannheim
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de:1332

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